Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

2011

Drama

1
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 76%
IMDb Rating 7.3 10 6941

Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 15, 2020 at 04:27 PM

Director

Cast

Kôji Yakusho as Kageyu Saito
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.15 GB
1280*534
English
Not Rated
23.976 fps
2 hr 8 min
P/S 175/82
2.36 GB
1920*800
English
Not Rated
23.976 fps
2 hr 8 min
P/S 0/0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by wandereramor 8 / 10

On the deficiencies of wooden swords

Takashi Miike's second straight tribute to the samurai genre is a well-crafted and finely honed object. It's more consistent than Miike's previous samurai film, 13 Assassins, although that also means it lacks anything as great as that film's final battle. But what sets Hara-Kiri apart is its willingness to not just offer a pastiche of these films but genuinely question their values in a way that is still challenging to the contemporary viewer.

Through a series of events told partially in flashbacks, Hara-Kiri poses the question of how relevant our values are -- whether they be highly codified values like honour or the more nebulous instincts that guide us today -- in the face of human suffering. The ronin that we see humiliated and killed in the first act is not guilty of breaking some arcane samurai bylaw but of doing something most of us would find disgraceful. But as the film goes on it argues that we should hold compassion even for people such as this, and that honour is ultimately irrelevant in the face of social suffering. In an age of recession and austerity, where so many try to cling to their ideas of what they or other people "deserve", this is an important message.

It's an easy film to appreciate and a difficult one to love -- there's a kind of coldness to this set of Miike's movies that seems out of place with the gonzo enthusiasm of his earlier work. And doubtlessly it will be too slow and cerebral for some. But its critique of not just a canonized genre but the way in which we view ethics makes it well worth seeing.

Reviewed by mistabobdobolina 10 / 10

A Unique Take on the Samurai Vendetta Genre

A samurai film set in the first generation after the rise of the Tokugawa Shogunate -- when the samurai were beginning to perceive the bitter reality that unity and peace were the death knell of much of their usefulness as a caste -- Hara-Kiri centers around a story of disgrace and revenge, but its take on this subject matter is unique, and it is one of the very few samurai films that actually reaches the point of questioning the ethos of "warrior's honour." It is not an action film, for the most part; although its climactic act does feature a fascinating one-against-many throwdown, it isn't there to provide gore and death. This is a film that revolves around story, characters and ideas.

The basic premise: with many samurai penniless and out of work under the Shogunate -- which has become vindictive about eliminating all possible threats to its power and has shut down whole domains -- a uniquely samurai kind of con artistry has sprung up, called the "suicide bluff," in which a ronin shows up at a well-appointed lordly estate, begs the use of the courtyard to commit seppuku, and thereby hopes to win the lord's sympathy and to be offered some money or a position in his retinue instead.

The film begins with one such story set at the House of Ii; the senior retainer, set to hear a suicide request from a penniless ronin, eyes him skeptically and then tells him (in flashback form) the story of another such ronin who came by attempting a suicide bluff just a short while earlier. The story of that young man, who shows up looking skinny, timorous and pathetic to make his request, is the story of an unsuspecting rube badly miscalculating the seriousness of the House of Ii's commitment to the samurai ideal, notwithstanding that most of its younger warriors have never seen combat. When the retainers of Ii discover that the young ronin has brought only a bamboo practice sword with him, they decide in rage to call his transparent bluff, summoning out the whole house to witness his suicide and sternly demanding that he go through with it... using only that same bamboo sword.

The youth's panic and seeming cowardice seem contemptible at first... but there is something just as twisted about the retainers' contempt when they discover he was just trying to get money to buy medicine for a sick wife and child. Finally, seeing that there's no way out, he does contrive to commit seppuku with the bamboo sword, in a scene of surpassing drawn-out agony and horror that will stay with you for days. (His "second," assigned to behead him, seems in particular to almost relish the young man's suffering, refusing to end it until he's twisted the bamboo blade in his guts to the man's satisfaction.) Back to the present, and the senior retainer of Ii offering this latest ronin the chance to leave with no questions asked. And that's when we discover that the two ronins' stories are connected... and that there's a larger objective of retribution in the newcomer's actions.

The drama that follows -- which affords us a chance to see the two ronin in an entirely different light, to discover their relationship and what brought them to their desperate pass, and to question whether the suppression of humaneness and empathy in the samurai code of conduct really just isn't a form of empty madness -- is deliberately-paced, intricately structured, and moving. It is well worth seeing, and indeed quite probably the best Japanese drama to be produced so far this century.

Reviewed by adrongardner 7 / 10

Unnecessary, but comes with a few slices of power

Let's get this out of the way.

Kobayashi's hard hitting "Harakiri" is a masterpiece. It's one of the great pieces of not only Japanese cinema, but also one of the best movies of the 20th century. While I'm disappointed the film was remade at all, and surprised it came from Miike, there are still good things to be found here. To my surprise, for the most part, this is a good movie and in very small quantities, there are some true moments of greatness. Even if they are very short.

A good deal of the original film's grit is lost for most of this go around. The cinematography is over-lit and the pacing falls into lulls. But survive to the end and you will be rewarded as the final irony is quite powerful. I mean, no spoilers from me, but even with the cheesy fake snow, I have to say, Ebizô Ichikawa's powerful presence won me over and he truly wins the day when the time calls for it.

I was never too crazy about all the Kurosawa remakes of the 60s and 70s. Fistful of Dollars always felt like a cheap knock-off, because it is. The Magnificent Seven was sort of a tolerable chuckle. Kurosawa's films were so human, almost populist, because of their themes, his work was ripe for remake, reboot or even plagiarism. Only Star Wars seemed to get the joke and succeed in being something different than a pure Hidden Fortress copy. Kobayashi's Harakiri seemed to escape the trend for so long because of the subject matter - even the title! But here we are. There is still something not right about this "remake," but MIike gets it right in the end, even if never needed to be done in the first place.

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